In typical fashion my family kind of jumps in and out of it and looks down all different lineages to see what interesting tid-bits we can find. My aunt, however, is much more methodical and has created a wonderful book on my mother's side which she gave to all the descendants for Christmas a few years ago. Now I'm sure, in many households this book is a dust collector, but in ours it is a great reference book. What a better way to make history come alive than have a direct connection to a historical event. This week, the kids got the book out and were doing a comparative table of jobs that have been held in our family. DD found out that we had farmers, silk workers, bankers, entrepreneurs, gas company employees, inn keeper, blacksmith, and a whole boat load of teachers. DS was especially interested when he found that part of the Shaw family owned a grocery store. He immediately wanted to know if we were heir to the Shaw's supermarkets. He is no fool. Genealogy suddenly became very important.
Most interestingly though was that this common interest brought the siblings together to work, which is not always that easy. They worked cooperatively at this for several hours. They would scour through the histories of individuals that my aunt had compiled and glean out the occupations, which DD put in a spreadsheet on the computer.
If you have a genealogy, you may want to dig it out to work with as you work on graphs, geography, language, culture, etc. And if you don't have one, this might be a great time to start one.
We frequently use:
http://www.ancestry.com/ - this is a web page that you need to pay for, but there is an initial 14 free trial.
Burial ground records are sometimes online and can be a great help.
My aunt gave DD a great book called Climbing Your Family Tree: Online and Off-Line Genealogy for Kids by Ira Wolfman.
and easiest and most importantly, talk to the relatives that are still alive to get down their history before it is lost. Perhaps a great gift this Christmas would be